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Flag Day

City Schools celebrates Flag Day at Jackson Primary and John Kennedy Intermediate

By Staff Writer
Locals veterans unfold the flag during the morning ceremony at Jackson Primary school  Photo by Steve Ognibene
Local veterans fold the American flag during the Flag Day ceremony at Jackson Primary.  
Photo by Steve Ognibene

Students at John Kennedy Intermediate School, Jackson Primary School, and Batavia Middle School, on Friday were joined by the Joint Veterans Honor Guard of Genesee County to celebrate Flag Day.

Flag Day commemorates the adoption of the first national flag on June 14, 1777.  It was declared Flag Day by President Woodrow Wilson in 1926 and Congress made it a national holiday in 1949.

Principal Maureen Notaro noted teachers' role in teaching children about honoring the flag.

"We thank all of you teachers and all of the students here with us today to carry on the work of honoring our American flag," Notaro said during remarks to the students at Jackson.

She told the students about the way the nation is honored through displays of the flag.

"In many different ways and places, it waves its colors on government, state and public buildings all across the country, on our schools, churches and playgrounds,” Notaro said. "It's been placed on the moon by our astronauts. Did you know that? So there's a flag there on the moon. It's on so many uniforms of our law enforcement officers. If you turn around, you'll see our New York State Troopers back there with their dog. And they're here, and they have that on their work gear. You'll see it probably displayed by our veterans active and retired. Every cemetery that you drive by or visit is covered in American flags. And it's internationally recognized in every country and city around the world. But nothing touches one's heart and soul more than seeing the honoring of the flag." Local veterans unfolded the American flag during the Flag Day ceremony at Jackson Primary.

Jackson Primary students showing off Flag Day colors.  Photo by Steve Ognibene
Jackson Primary students standing for Flag day presentation.  
Photo by Steve Ognibene
Staff at Jackson Primary along with veterans talking to students about Flag day.  Photo by Steve Ognibene
Principal Maureen Notaro along with staff and local vetarans talk to students about flag day.  
Photo by Steve Ognibene
Photo by Steve Ognibene
Jackson Primary student showing his smiles and colors for flag day.  
Photo by Steve Ognibene
Photo by Steve Ognibene
Students from Jackson Primary waving flags.  
Photo by Steve Ognibene
John Kennedy Intermediate principal Paul Kessler and assistant principal Heather McCarthy have morning announcements outside with students for Flag Day.  Photo by Steve Ognibene
John Kennedy Intermediate Principal Paul Kesler and assistant principal Heather McCarthy having morning announcements and the flag day ceremony outside the school.  
Photo by Steve Ognibene
John Kennedy Intermediate principal Paul Kessler and assistant principal Heather McCarthy have morning announcements outside with students for Flag Day.  Photo by Steve Ognibene
Photo by Steve Ognibene
Pledge of allegiance outside John Kennedy Intermediate school  Photo by Steve Ognibene
Pledge of allegiance outside John Kennedy Intermediate School. 
Photo by Steve Ognibene
Students from John Kennedy Intermediate say the pledge of allegiancse for Flag Day.  Photo by Steve Ognibene
Photo by Steve Ognibene

VFW in Batavia retires tattered and faded flags in ceremony

By Howard B. Owens
VFW flag disposal
Robert Kendall, a member of VFW Post 1602 in Batavia, ignites flags that were deemed no longer servicable during a Flag Day ceremony at the post on Wednesday.
Photo by Howard Owens

After a brief ceremony to incinerate retired flags on Wednesday at the VFW Post 1602, Veness-Strollo, in Batavia, members celebrated the freedom the U.S. Flag represents and the price paid and sacrifice made by those who served in the military to protect that freedom.

Members of the post incinerated dozens of flags as part of the ceremony. 

A crew from the City of Batavia Fire Department was on hand to assist in the Flag Day ceremony.

The flags are collected from area residents throughout the year.  

A flag that is torn or faded should be disposed of in a dignified manner, according to the U.S. Flag code, and incineration is the generally preferred method to dispose of flags that are "no longer a fitting emblem for display." Flags that are no longer serviceable should not be on public display.

The ceremony was carried out by Vice Commander William Frieday, Robert Kendall, treasurer, and member Ronald Gibson.

Each read from a script for the ceremony that reads in part:

A Flag may be a flimsy bit of printed gauze or a beautiful banner of the finest silk. Its intrinsic value may be trifling or great, but its real value is beyond price, for it is a precious symbol of all that we and our comrades have worked for and lived for and died for a free Nation of free men, true to the faith of the past, devoted to the ideals and practice of Justice, Freedom and Democracy.”

“Let these faded Flags of our Country be retired and destroyed with respectful and honorable rites, and their places be taken by bright new Flags of the same size and kind, and let no grave of our soldier or sailor dead be unhonored and unmarked. Sergeant-at-Arms, assemble the Color Guard, escort the detail bearing the Flags and destroy these Flags by burning.

Photos by Howard Owens.

VFW flag disposal
 Ronald Gibson, William Frieday, and Robert Kendall.
Photo by Howard Owens.
VFW flag disposal
VFW flag disposal
VFW flag disposal
VFW flag disposal
Robert Tedford, City Fire.
Photo by Howard Owens.
VFW flag disposal
VFW flag disposal
VFW flag disposal

Photos: Flag Day at Jackson Primary School

By Howard B. Owens
jackson school flag day

Jackson Primary School in Batavia hosted a Flag Day celebration on Wednesday with the help of the Genesee County Honor Guard.

Members of the honor guard at the school were Tom Cecere, who read a history of the U.S. Flag for students, Philip Gaudy, Carl Hyde, and Tom Balonek.  All four men are military veterans.

Photos by Howard Owens

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jackson school flag day
jackson school flag day
jackson school flag day
jackson school flag day
jackson school flag day
jackson school flag day
jackson school flag day
jackson school flag day
jackson school flag day
Mason Hubbard read a report he wrote with facts about the U.S. Flag based on his own research.

Photos: Flag Day crafts at Godfrey's Pond

By Joanne Beck


Bentley Fielding, left, 5 and from Batavia, watches his little sister, Paisley, 2, painting while her mother, Brittany looks on during the Kids Flag Day Craft Saturday at Godfrey's Pond in Bergen. 


Families work on their patriotic projects this weekend during the Kids Flag Day Craft at Godfrey's Pond in Bergen.

Photos by Nick Serrata.

Hawley introduced World War II vets on Assembly Floor last Friday

By Billie Owens

Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,C,I-Batavia) [center] introduces several veterans of World War II on the Assembly Floor last Friday.

Submitted photo and press release:

Coinciding with the legislature’s celebration of Flag Day and the founding of the Army, Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,C,I-Batavia) had the honor of introducing many veterans of World War Two on the Assembly Floor on Friday.

“World War II veterans, ‘The Greatest Generation’ are an elite and special group and it is important to frequently recognize and cherish their role in defending America’s freedom,” Hawley said. “Many of these brave young men and women volunteered, sometimes lying about their age in order to answer the call of duty.

"Their courage and bravery helped shape and preserve American exceptionalism, and it was truly an honor to introduce and meet with them in Albany.”

Hawley, a veteran of the Ohio Army National Guard and U.S. Army Reserves, is the son of a World War II veteran himself, R. Stephen Hawley, who fought in Burma as part of Merrill’s Marauders.

Hawley also hosts an annual trip to Washington, D.C., each September, the Patriot Trip, joining local veterans and their families on a tour of our nation’s military and political monuments.

John Kennedy students honor veterans and military members at Flag Day ceremony

By Howard B. Owens


For Flag Day on Friday, John Kennedy School honored veterans who are family members of students at the school, which including David Bellavia (top photo), who will receive the Medal of Honor in a ceremony at the White House on June 25.

The assembly included the Batavia High School Brass Ensemble performing the National Anthem by the flagpole during the raising of the flag.

There were patriotic activities and classwork throughout the day.

The closing ceremony in the afternoon included local veterans and active military members. The assembly included patriotic songs, a reading of the names of veterans, the announcement of winners of the student costume contest.

Winners included Keyon Morris, Jonah Arroyo, Keaton Corcoran, Aristina Reidel, Blake Samuelson, Isla Wolff, Mason Bohn and Camden DeMena.

Photos and information provided by Batavia City Schools






Hawley: Flag Day is reminder of our 'struggles and triumphs' as a nation

By Billie Owens

A statement on Flag Day from Assemblyman Steve Hawley:

“Today’s annual celebration of Flag Day is a reminder of the traditions, history, pride and respect given to the nation's symbol, Old Glory. On June 14, 1777 the Second Continental Congress passed a resolution declaring the Stars and Stripes to be the official flag of the U.S. In 1916, President Woodrow Wilson passed a decree officially marking June 14 as Flag Day. 

“The celebration of Flag Day is a historic reminder of the struggles and triumphs that have made our country what it is today. By honoring our flag, we direct our minds to the ideals and principles that undergird our nation and are reminded of the many rights and privileges bestowed upon us as American citizens.

“Our country is proud of our flag and the principles of freedom and democracy it stands for at home and all across the world. The celebration of Flag Day on June 14 has been a long and honorable tradition and I hope many of you will join me this year in honoring the American Flag by displaying one at your home to show your love and pride in our great nation.”

Video: Batavia Middle School students honor veterans at VA on Flag Day

By Howard B. Owens
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Continuing an annual tradition started by Frank Panepento five years ago, Batavia Middle School students wrote essays about what the American flag means to them and then three winners were chosen to read their essays today, Flag Day, at the VA Center in Batavia.

The winning essay was by Tosh Spillberg, who received a bike and a season pass to Darien Lake Theme Park. Second and third places were Landon Hamilton and Trevor Tryon, who also received season passes to Darien Lake. Panepento purchased the prizes.

Student Transportation of America provided the students with a free bus ride to and from the VA Center.

Flag Day Celebration: 'The flag shows that America never gives up'

By Howard B. Owens


Veterans residing at the Batavia VA Medical Center were honored today as part of a Flag Day ceremony that included the reading of three essays about the flag by students of Batavia Middle School.

The winning essay was written by Harrison Southall (second photo):

What the American Flag means to me? Well, it stands for hope in my eyes. In America's history, when battles were fought there would be a flag bearer who would hold our flag with his life. If he got shot, he still held it. If he got killed, someone else would just drop their gun and pick up the flag because they knew they were fighting for our country. The flag shows that America never gives up and shows brave soldiers that hope is never lost even in the worst times, and that is what makes the flag special.

Organizing the event was spearheaded by Frank Panepento and ended with a medley of patriotic songs from a brass band.




Assistant Principal Maureen Notario with a binder full of all the essays submitted by students of Batavia Middle School. The book was presented to World War II veteran Leo Pelton, who is 99 years old (below).




Special ceremony to honor the American flag to be held Sunday afternoon at VA Medical Center, Batavia

By Billie Owens

Press release:

This Sunday, June 10, the public is invited to the Batavia VA Medical Center for a special ceremony to honor the American flag.

The ceremony will begin at 1 p.m. honoring those service men and women who have fought to protect that flag and our country.

There will be a motorcycle procession, Special Presentation of Colors, and a special thank you from the Batavia Middle School to honor Mr. Leo Pelton (98 years young) for his service in World War II.

"Let's Ride" -- motorcyclists carrying the names of our fallen warriors listed on Batavia's memorial wall -- will gather at Stan's Harley-Davidson, 4425 Saile Drive, Batavia, at 11:30 a.m. for the noon memorial ride to the Batavia VA Medical Center. They will present those names to the veterans in the hospital to let them know they are not forgotten and present a new American flag on their behalf to the hospital.

Essays will be read by the student winners from BMS who won the essay contest on “What the American Flag Means to Me.“ 

St. Joseph’s of Batavia Brass Ensemble will perform its patriotic/military set for the VA patients and the general public.

It promises to be a great afternoon! Come on out and be part of this special celebration. Help us make this a very special Thank You to our veterans and service people!

The Batavia VA Medical Center is located at 222 Richmond Ave. in the City of Batavia.

Next week is National Flag Week. Flag Day is Thursday, June 14. The National Flag Day Foundation holds an annual observance for Flag Day on the second Sunday in June, which includes a ceremonial raising of the national flag, the recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance, singing of the National Anthem, a parade and other patriotic events.

Middle school students to honor veterans at VA on Flag Day with flags and essays

By Howard B. Owens

It would mean a lot to Frank Panepento if you would come out to the VA Center in Batavia at 1 p.m. on Sunday to celebrate Flag Day with our veterans.

It will mean a lot to him because it means a lot to the veterans living at the center.

Panepento helped organize the event, which will include a motorcycle procession from Stan's Harley-Davidson and a presentation by students from Batavia Middle School, who wrote essays on what the flag means to them. 

The BMS Art Department also created flags for the veterans.

"For the residents in the hospital, just to know that someone cares about them is huge," Panepento said.

St. Joe's Brass Ensemble, which Penepento leads, will also play.

Photos: Flag Day ceremony at VA

By Howard B. Owens


Michael Mazutta, an Afghanistan and Iraq war veteran, was the keynote speaker at a Flag Day ceremony this afternoon at the VA hospital in Batavia.

Included in the ceremony were certificates of appreciation to Vernon Rowe and Joe Gerace. After Rowe received his certificate from Mazutta, he volunteered to present Gerace with his certificate.

Students from Batavia Middle School presented handmade gifts to the veterans who are residents at the hospital.

The St. Joe's band performed after the ceremony.

Prior to his invocation, Chaplain Robert Chambers called for a moment of silence to honor the victims of the mass shooting in Orlando and then prayed for them and their grieving families.










Flag Day Ceremony is tomorrow at Batavia VA on Richmond Avenue

By Billie Owens

Although Flag Day is actually Tuesday, June 14, there will be a Flag Day Ceremony on Sunday, June 12, at the VA WNY Healthcare System, Batavia.

It starts at 1 p.m. with a prelude comprised of a motorcycle procession.

This will be followed by the Presentation of Colors by the Genesee County Joint Veterans Color Guard, and then the Invocation will be given by Chaplain Robert Chambers of the VA Chaplain Service.

Next, those assembled will say the Pledge of Allegiance.

Mark J. Francis, volunteer program manager, will welcome participants and then Michael Mazutto will speak. Mazutto is a veteran of Afghanistan/Iraq and a recipient of the Purple Heart.

James Neider will speak on the Flag Day tradition. He is with the American Legion Genesee Veterans Club.

A Tribute to Veterans follows, provided by Batavia Middle School students and Assistant Principal Maureen Notoro.

St. Joe's Brass Ensemble will perform a musical salute and concert.

The ceremony ends with Chaplain Robert's benediction and the Retirement of Colors.

The public is welcome to attend. The VA medical center is located at 222 Richmond Ave. in the City of Batavia.

Photo: A salute to Flag Day

By Howard B. Owens

The grandchildren of Mike Cleveland offer a salute while standing in front of a giant flag he's hung on his garage for Flag Day today.

The girls are Angelina, 6, and Juliana, who is 3 years old today.

Photos: Flag Day ceremony at American Legion, Batavia

By Howard B. Owens

Jane LaWall, above, attended the flag burning ceremony at the Batavia American Legion this afternoon to honor her late brother George Fry, who was killed in action in Vietnam in 1969. Also participating in the Flag Day ceremony were Ron Konieczny and Paul LaValley, as well as (in pictures below, after the jump), John and Karen Bannister, Jim Neider and Kristen Sikora.


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